Really all you have to know is this: read this book.
Christine Lucas wakes up everyday having forgotten everything that happened to her for the last twenty some years. Sometimes she thinks she is a child, sometimes a woman in her twenties. Daily, her husband Ben must explain to her who he is and what has happened to her. Daily she must struggle for a sense of identity with no memories for a foundation. Then that night when she sleeps she will forget everything again. On the day that the book begins, she receives a phone call from a doctor who tells her they have been working together to restore her memory and that she has been writing a journal about their work. The main part of the book is this journal.
Amnesia is one of those medical conditions much loved by authors and Hollywood. It’s a fascinating idea, who we are if not the sum or our memories. S.J. Watson takes this much used theme and creates a absolutely chilling and page-turning thriller. I read a fair amount of mysteries and thrillers and until the end I wasn’t sure how this one was going to go. I really wasn’t sure if the husband was a diabolically evil man or an unbelievably devoted and patient spouse. (Imagine for a minute being married to someone who you love but not only has no memory of you but for whom daily you must explain over and over again the details of your life together.) I wasn’t sure if the doctor was really trying to help her. I wasn’t sure if the memories she is recovering are real or confabulation. But it all kept me reading.
It’s definitely one of those books that the less said the better, so I’ll leave it there. I will say that I thought the ending not as strong as the rest of the book but it’s not unsatisfying. And overall it’s just a great read. If you like thrillers or mysteries, read this book. If you don’t like thrillers or mysteries, read it anyway.